Frequently asked questions
When you're considering orthodontic treatment, it is normal to have questions. Here’s a list of the most common questions we get asked and answers that we hope are helpful.
Frequently asked questions about orthodontics
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a specialist field of dentistry which concentrates on correcting any mis-alignment of teeth and jaws.
What qualifications does an orthodontist have?
An orthodontist has a five-year Bachelor of Dentistry, followed by a Masters Degree in the specialist field of orthodontics. Find out more information about the difference between an orthodontist and dentist here.
How do I know if I need orthodontic treatment?
If your teeth are crowded, crooked, twisted or you have big gaps between them, you could benefit from orthodontic treatment. Similarly, if you have bite issues, such as an under, over or crossbite, orthodontic treatment could resolve this. You don’t need a referral from a dentist to see an orthodontist. You can book a free consultation directly with us.
Does orthodontic treatment hurt?
No, orthodontic treatment doesn’t hurt. When your appliances are fitted, and at certain times throughout your treatment when your braces or aligners are adjusted, you may experience some mild discomfort, but this will only last a day or two and can be treated with over-the-counter pain relief.
How long does orthodontic treatment take?
This depends on the type of orthodontic treatment you receive and the extent of the orthodontic problem you are being treated for. However, on average, orthodontic treatment ranges from between 12 and 24 months.
Is orthodontic treatment suitable for everyone?
Absolutely, children, teenagers and adults can receive orthodontic treatment and it is effective no matter what age the patient is. In fact, it is recommended that children have an orthodontic consultation by the age of seven to identify any early intervention that may be required.
How often do I need to see an orthodontist during treatment?
Once you are accepted for orthodontic care you will be expected to attend an appointment every 6-8 weeks. These appointments are to adjust your appliance. When you attend you will normally be seen by an Orthodontic Therapist, who is trained to the highest level to administer your care. All treatments take place under the prescription/supervision of your Orthodontic Specialist. You will also need to continue to visit your general dentist regularly throughout your treatment.
Frequently asked questions about metal braces
How do braces work?
Fixed braces are made up of two key components. A small bracket (square) is attached to the front surface of each tooth using orthodontic glue. A thin wire, known as an archwire, is then attached to the brackets with either coloured elastic rings, or they will simply clip into a self-closing bracket.The wires exert small forces on the teeth through the brackets (squares) moving the teeth to a straighter position.
How long will it take me to get used to wearing braces?
Every patient’s experience with braces is different. Patients tend to adjust to the brace within a few days, however, it can take up to a week, and occasionally a little more.
Will I need elastics?
It may be necessary for you to wear elastics during your treatment. These are used to apply pressure to the teeth and jaws to correct the alignment of your teeth and occlusion (bite). You will be advised of this if it is necessary.
What do I do if I find the brace uncomfortable to wear?
It is likely that your teeth will feel tender following your brace being fitted. This means your brace has already begun working. Stick to a softer diet and, if necessary, you can take painkillers (such as ones you would normally take for a headache). We will supply you with some orthodontic wax for you to use if you find the brace is rubbing in an area, this will help prevent it making your mouth sore.
Can I eat normally while wearing braces?
Yes, you can eat normally; however, we do advise that you adjust your diet and how you eat throughout your treatment to prevent damaging your brace.At the start of treatment and when having the brace adjusted, your teeth are likely to feel sore. Stick to a softer diet with foods such as pasta, noodles, mashed potato and gravy, soups, etc.
Hard, crunchy and chewy foods break braces, as do biting nails, chewing pen lids and picking your brace. It is essential you avoid these foods and habits throughout your treatment. Apples, raw vegetables etc can be cut up into small pieces and eaten carefully on your back teeth.Broken brackets and bent wires will prolong your treatment, so avoiding these foods is necessary.
Can I play contact sports while wearing braces?
We would advise using a remouldable gum shield, as your teeth will be moving throughout treatment and a traditional gum shield will not fit. We sell Oproshield re-moldable gum shields at our Cambridge practice. Please ask for our current prices - purchase over the phone and receive by post (excluding p&p).
Frequently asked questions about Invisalign®
What is Invisalign® and how does it work?
Invisalign® is a series of discrete clear plastic aligners which are changed weekly or fortnightly. Each aligner is different and unique to that patient which allows the teeth to align. The aligners sit on the teeth which, like the brackets of a metal train track brace, creates a force on that tooth allowing it to move.
Can anyone have treatment with Invisalign® ?
In most instances yes, however some cases may require a fixed brace (metal or ceramic) to achieve the desired final result. The specialist orthodontist will advise which course of treatment will give the best outcome at the assessment appointment.
Is there specific training required by dentists to provide Invisalign®?
Although dentists can provide Invisalign® treatment after receiving the training, they are not Specialist Orthodontists. Our Specialist orthodontists Francis Scriven and Paul Williams have many years of experience in providing Invisalign® treatments. In fact, Anglia Orthodontics holds a Platinum Invisalign® Provider status.
Does Invisalign® hurt?
Invisalign® aligners are designed to be smooth within the mouth, however they are creating movement with the teeth. This can make the teeth feel achy and sometimes sore, we would recommend patients to take normal over the counter pain relief such as would be taken for a headache.
Can I eat or drink with the aligners?
No. You will need to remove your aligners for eating and drinking anything other than water.
We also recommend taking your aligners out if you smoke as it will stain them, but remember they must be in your mouth at least 22 hours a day. Taking them in and out a lot adds up!
Can I still have Invisalign® if I have crowns or a bridge?
Generally, this is not an issue. Depending on where the bridge or crowns are will have an effect on the treatment. Invisalign® offers the flexibility to move some teeth and not others.
Can I chew gum with the aligners in?
No, gum will stick to the aligners.
Will wearing the aligners change my speech?
Like all orthodontic treatments, aligners may temporarily affect the speech of some people, and you may have a slight lisp for a day or two. However, as your tongue gets used to having aligners in your mouth, any lisp caused by the aligners should disappear.
How do I look after my aligners?
If the aligners are not in your mouth, keep them in the box provided as leaving them on the side wrapped in tissue or loose can either lead to accidental discarding or may be eaten by pets! They are clear and can easily be lost. Always put them in and take them out using your fingers, (pushing them firmly into place, aided by using the “chewies” given to you at your first appointment. There should be no gaps between the plastic and your teeth) as biting aligners or retainers into place or flicking them out with your tongue will eventually result in the aligners or retainers breaking over time. Keep the aligners or retainers away from heat sources.
How do I clean them?
In the morning rinse the aligners or retainers with cold water and brush them with a toothbrush, which is not used for tooth cleaning as toothpaste can crack the plastic. We advise patients to use Retainer Brite or denture cleaning tablets to clean the aligners at least once a week to keep them fresh. Retainer Brite helps keep the aligners or retainers clean, removes plaque, tartar and kills bacteria. Always use cold water to clean the aligners or retainers as warm or hot water can cause the plastic to crack or distort. Retainer Brite can be purchased from any of our practices for £6.75 for 36 tablets (purchase over the phone and receive by post excludes p&p)
What do I do if I lose my aligner?
Try moving onto your next aligner, it may feel tight, but as long as it “seats” fully over the teeth continue with this aligner, but for extra time. If it does not “seat” well, go back one aligner and contact the practice informing us of which aligner has been lost or broken.
There is a nominal charge for the replacement, currently £25 per single aligner.
Once we are aware and have taken payment we will order and post out to you. This could take up to 10 days.
What happens after treatment to prevent my teeth from moving?
Retention is an essential part of orthodontic treatment. A thin undetectable retention wire is bonded to the back of the front upper and lower teeth to ensure no tooth movement. A retainer, similar to the Invisalign aligner, must be worn at night as a ‘backup’ to the retention wire.
How long do you have to wear the retainer and wire?
For as long as you want your teeth to stay straight.
Still have a question?
We are happy to answer any further questions you may have about orthodontic treatment during your free consultation. Why not book in today?Book your free consultation